Act of Mar. 14, 1776, ch. VII, 1775-1776 Mass. Act at 31–32, 35.
Chap. VII An Act for the executing in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England, one Resolve of the American Congress, dated March 14, 1776, recommending the disarming of such persons as are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who refuse to associate to defend by arms the United American Colonies, against the hostile attemps of the British fleets and armies, and for the restraining and punishing persons who are inimical to the rights and liberties of the said United Colonies, and for directing the Proceedings therein. Whereas on the fourteenth of March One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-five, a certain resolve was made and passed by the American Congress, of the following tenor, viz. "Resolved, That it be recommended to the several Assemblies, Conventions and Councils, or Committees of Safety of the United Colonies, immediately to cause all persons to be disarmed within their respective Colonies, who are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who have not associated and refuse to associate to defend by arms these United Colonies, against the hostile attempts of the British Fleets and Armies; and to apply the arms taken from such persons in each respective Colony, in the first place, to the arming of the Continental Troops raised in said Colony; in the next, to the arming such troops as are raised by the Colony for its own defense, and the residue to be applied to the arming [sic] the associators; that their arms when taken, be appraised by indifferent persons, and such as are applied to the arming Continental Troops, be paid for by Congress; and the residue by the respective Assemblies, Conventions or Councils, or Committees of Safety." Be it therefore enacted by the Council, and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the Authority of the same, that every male person above sixteen years of age, resident in any town or place in this colony, who shall neglect or refuse to subscribe a printed or written declaration of the form and tenor herein after prescribed, upon being required thereto by the Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety for the town or place in which he dwells, or any of them, shall be disarmed and have taken from him in manner hereafter directed, all such arms, ammunities and warlike implements, as by the strictest search can be found in his possession or belonging to him; which declaration shall be in the form and words following, viz . . . Provided, nevertheless, and be it further enacted, that nothing in this shall be Act shall be construed to extend to the disarming, disqualifying or any way punishing any of the denomination of christians called Quakers, for not fighting the aforesaid declaration, in case upon being required to sign the following Declaration, and having the same tendered to him, shall not refuse or neglect to subscribe it.